Head coach Mario Ledesma doesn’t expect New Zealand to underestimate their Argentina side for the second time when they face each other in the rugby championship on the Gold Coast on Sunday. The Pumas recorded their first-ever victory over the All Blacks in Sydney last November, taking a 25-15 victory over the three-time world champions despite coming out of quarantine.
“(The All Blacks) haven’t cracked much in the last hundred years,” Ledesma said. “We were very lucky last year and I thought maybe they were expecting a different kind of game.” Last year we went into this game without playing for eight months, so can -being that we were underestimated or that they took things for granted. I don’t think they’ll make the same mistake this year. “
Joining the Pumas will be experienced playmaker Nicolas Sanchez who scored all of his team’s points in last season’s win. Argentina arrived in Queensland on a roundabout route which saw them defeat Romania in Bucharest in early July before facing Wales twice in Cardiff, where they notched a draw and victory.
The Pumas went on to lose back-to-back encounters with world champions South Africa in Port Elizabeth in the opening two rounds of this year’s rugby championship. Although last year’s first victory over the All Blacks was followed two weeks later by a 38-0 loss to the New Zealanders, the joy of this Sydney victory remains fresh in the minds of all who are associated with the Pumas team.
“We will try to do as usual, but obviously this game is in everyone’s memory,” said Ledesma. “Not just for us, but for Argentinian rugby it was a big deal.” Anytime you ask an Argentinian player who you want to play against, everyone will respond to the All Blacks. So it’s always special. ”
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